PANORAMA LATINX is an initiative of the Gene Siskel Film Center dedicated to year-round Latin American film programming. We engage the dynamic Latinx community of greater Chicago through showcasing the work of emerging and established Latinx filmmakers, educational screenings, and community partnerships.
The Last Suit
El último traje
2017, Pablo Solarz, Spain/Argentina, 92 min. With Miguel Ángel Solá, Ángela Molina.
"Light on its feet…moments of real pathos…kitsch charm." - Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
"The rough edges of this tough Argentinian are slowly softened to reveal a man finding what he has searched for his entire adult life." - Rachel Fayne, Atlanta Jewish Times
A story that has its roots in the Holocaust comes satisfyingly full circle in a film that is both sobering and winningly whimsical, as 88-year-old Argentinian Abraham Bursztein (Ángel Solá) takes off on his final odyssey to keep a long-ago promise. He may have a bum leg but he's sharp as a tack, and, on the eve of being shuffled off to a nursing home by his adult children, he makes his escape: destination Poland, via Spain and Germany. This foxy grandpa wears his cantankerous neediness like a badge of honor, guilt-tripping a young hipster into doing his bidding, bargaining a discount with a Madrid hotel owner (a lush and maturely lovely Molina) who unexpectedly becomes a love interest, and getting himself into a jam. As Abraham boards a train that will take him through Germany, the story shifts gears into gentle pathos when memory meets reality for a series of encounters that begin the healing. In Spanish, Yiddish, German, and Polish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)
Memories Of Underdevelopment
Memorias del Subdesarrollo
1968, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Cuba, 97 min. With Sergio Corrieros, Daisy Granados.
"One of the greatest pictures ever made, and it's screening in a new restoration that you shouldn't miss." - Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
"A fascinating achievement. Here is a film about alienation that is wise, sad and often funny." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
Perhaps the greatest of all Cuban films, Alea's masterpiece is also a sterling example of the "Third Cinema" movement, which sought a politically productive alternative to both the elitism of art cinema and the manipulation of Hollywood movies. The first film from post-revolutionary Cuba to be released in the U.S., MEMORIES centers on Sergio (Corrieros), a Europeanized Havana intellectual who is too idealistic (or apathetic) to leave for Miami but too decadent to fit into Castro's new order. Alea's dazzlingly inventive style freely mixes in documentary, still photography, social satire, and erotic fantasy, as his conflicted protagonist observes the city through a telescope, hooks up with a working-class girl (Granados), visits the Hemingway museum, stands trial for rape, attends a writers conference, and finds himself isolated by his country's mobilization during the 1962 missile crisis. Both a critique of revolutionary society and a critique of that critique, MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT demonstrates that artistic subtlety, political commitment, and superior entertainment need not be incompatible. In Spanish with English subtitles. New 4K DCP digital restoration. (MR)
The Desert Bride
La novia del desierto
2017, Cecilia Atán and Valeria Pivato, Argentina, 78 min. With Paulina García, Claudio Rissi.
"A captivating two-hander, as soothing as a desert breeze...The marvelous García is the heart of the movie." - David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter
"Lovely...BRIDE is remarkable for how honestly it earns every tiny tick of pleasure it gives - for it gives many." - Jessica Kiang, The Playlist
The formidable talent of Chilean actress Paulina García (GLORIA, LITTLE MEN) is showcased in THE DESERT BRIDE, a charming and subtle character study in the form of a road movie. Teresa (García) has been working for thirty years as a maid for a Buenos Aires family when their financial straits compel her to take a new position in the distant northwest. The bus breaks down en route, leaving her stranded in a remote town whose status as a pilgrimage site slyly hints at divine intervention. When she realizes she has lost her bag, a gregarious traveling merchant named El Gringo (Rissi) takes her in his camper to search for it. Interspersed flashbacks sketch in Teresa's comfortable but confining past life, while the high desert air and El Gringo's expansive personality stealthily induce her to widen her horizons. First-time filmmakers Atán and Pivato, aided by longtime Pablo Larraín cinematographer Sergio Armstrong, make effective use of the widescreen frame to surround the characters with vast desert vistas that connote both vulnerability and possibility. In Spanish with English subtitles. DCP digital widescreen. (MR)